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Although symptoms may not appear as dramatic as those from a fracture or other trauma, diseases and disorders can have an adverse effect on your feet, ankles, and lower legs. Some conditions are specific to your feet or lower legs, where other diseases, like diabetes, do not relate to your feet but can create feet and leg problems (i.e. diabetic neuropathy).
Screenings for these diseases and disorders can assist in determining proper treatment.
Importance of disease screenings
The sooner you are diagnosed with a disease or foot disorder, the more effective your treatment can be. Also, if caught early enough, you can reduce the severity of some complications that affect your feet and legs.
If you develop symptoms of any type of disease or foot disorder, you should be tested. You can be screened for various diseases, including arthritis and peripheral arterial disease, at your doctor's office.
Diseases and disorders affecting your feet, ankles, and lower legs
There are many diseases and disorders that can affect your feet. Some disorders are specific to the foot, ankle, or lower leg while others are diseases that can affect your entire body, and also can cause foot-related issues. Some diseases and disorders than can have an impact on your foot health include:
Overview of disease screenings
Not all diseases and disorders have specific medical screenings. For example, Freiberg's disease is often discovered after an x-ray is taken for another foot ailment.
However, there are numerous disease screening processes, including:
Ankle-brachial index (ABI): A simple test that can be performed in your doctor's office, ABI is a reliable way to diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Rheumatoid arthritis screening: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is often diagnosed through a series of checks, including:
Diabetes tests: Various laboratory tests, including fasting plasma glucose (FPG) tests, tests for blood levels of glycated hemoglobin, and insulin resistance tests, can be used to diagnose diabetes. Because diabetic neuropathy can affect the nerve functioning in feet, it is important to tell your podiatrist if you are diabetic.
Gout screening: Blood tests and lab tests to analyze joint fluid can help diagnose gout.
Fibromyalgia testing: Fibromyalgia can be confused with other illnesses including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Lyme disease, so these and other disorders need to be ruled out. Imaging tests and nerve and muscle studies may help with this diagnosis.
Other diseases and disorders can be found through physical examinations when symptoms manifest themselves.
If you are concerned that you may be affected by one of these disorders, or if you are suffering from pain and discomfort in your feet, ankles, or lower legs, visit your doctor for a medical screening.